Welcome to Justice O’ Metre, an independent tracker on high profile cases affecting mostly politically-exposed persons within the Zambian judicial system, the rule of law and the administration of justice for common good.
This fresh offering kicks-off with a review of happenings in the month of September, 2023.
The month of September had its fair share of cases on the floor of the courts of law. Some allegedly politically motivated and others mere litigation battles.
Prominently, the former first family made their way to the Magistrate Court, not for the usual Presidential officiating but to be on the defensive side of a theft case.
EDGAR LUNGU V ATTORNEY GENERAL
On September 17, the former president, sought leave of the Lusaka High Court to begin Judicial Review of proceedings against the State’s decision to bar him from travelling to South Korea to attend a World Peace Conference.
The litigant who cited the Attorney-General, as the respondent in the matter was seeking an order of the court to quash the decision of the Director-General of Zambia Department of Immigration to deny him exit out of the country to South Korea without stating the reasons for the action.
Lungu, represented by Makebi Zulu Advocates, however, discontinued the matter the next day, after being granted an inter parte date hearing of September 25, 202, when the conference was scheduled to end on September 20. In the notice of discontinuance, the litigant lamented that continuing with the matter would result in an academic exercise.
Still aggrieved with the botched trip, Lungu on September 22, filed a petition in the same court contesting the legality of the decision by government asking him to seek Cabinet approval before travelling out.
Among the substantive reliefs was a declaration that the position by the State, that he should seek permission before he could travel was illegal and not supported by law.
He also wanted the court to declare that he was entitled to enjoy his right to movement and also be paid damages for the embarrassment, mental torture and anguish he went through due to the said decision.
Lungu lamented that his botched trip caused him so much embarrassment in the eyes of the international community and those who invited him.
THE PEOPLE V ESTHER LUNGU & 4 OTHERS
The criminal case involving former First lady, Esther Lungu and four others, appeared in the Lusaka Magistrate Court for theft of motor vehicle and money laundering charges.
Chief Resident Magistrate , Davies Chibwili allocated the matter to Magistrate Mbuywana Sinvula. Esther is jointly charged with James Phiri and Lee Chisulo, both police officers, Kapambwe Lungu and Catherine Banda.
In count one, the accused persons between August 9, 2021 and September 30, 2022 in Lusaka, jointly and whilst acting together, did steal a motor vehicle namely a Mitsubishi Canter registration number BAV 5282 valued at K320,000.00, the property of Elizabeth Change Phiri.
While in count two, allegations are that the five on the same date, in Lusaka, did steal a Toyuta Runnex registration number BLA 9772 valued at K 110,000.00 the property of Elizabeth Change Phiri.
In count three, it is alleged that Esther jointly and whilst together with the other four suspects, between August 9, 2021 and September 30, 2022 did steal a Toyota Alex registration number BAV 3986 valued at K 110,000.00, the property of Furhana Patel.
In count four, the former First lady, Chisulo, Lungu and Banda on the same date in Lusaka, jointly and whilst acting together, did steal a Certificate of tittle relating to stand No. S/LUSAKA/0003/2977 located in Libala Lusaka Water Works valued at K 1 ,050,000.00, the property of Elizabeth Change Phiri.
And, in the last count it is alleged that the ex-first lady between August 9, 2021 and September 30, 2022 in Lusaka, had in her possession or concealed money amounting to US$ 400,000 United State, property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.
THE PEOPLE V CHRIS ZUMANI ZIMBA & 3 OTHERS.
Trial took off in the matter in which ex-president, Edgar Lungu’s political advisor, Chris Zumani Zimba and three others who had been in detention since May, this year, are accused of being behind the gassing incidences which engulfed the country in 2020.
Zumani, 44, Given Phiri, 36, Marlon Banda, 34, and Portipher Gwai, 44, pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges before Lusaka High Court Judge, Koreen Zimba.
The ex-political advisor is charged with the offence of being in possession of articles for terrorism or proliferation purposes, contrary to Section 25 of the Anti-Terrorism Act no.6 of 2018 as read together with Section 2 of the Anti-terrorism Act no.6 of 2023.
The prosecution has so far called 11 witnesses, trial continues on October 28, 2023.
THE PEOPLE V EMERINE KABANSHI
It was a sad reality for former minister, Emerine Kabanshi , after High Court Judge, Gaudentia Salasini, upheld the two year sentence pronounced by the lower court, for her involvement in the Social Cash Transfer funds.
Judge Salasini found the Lusaka Magistrate Court to have been on firm ground when it ruled that the former Minister failed to comply with the law in relation to social cash transfer funds.
Kabanshi, 58, who served as Community Development and Social Services Minister under the Patriotic Front (PF) government was on May 28, 2021 sentenced to two years simple imprisonment on two counts of willful failure to comply with the law, applicable procedure or guideline relating to procurement contrary to Section 34(2)(b) of the Anti-Corruption Act No.3 of 2012 of the Laws of Zambia.
She has been on K50,000 bail since June, 2021, but the decision of the High Court saw her back in the prison cells.
THE PEOPLE VS VINCENT MULENGA
A feared figure in the community in Lusaka’s Matero Constituency, Vincent Mulenga, was sentenced to 15 years with hard labour for indecently assaulting three juveniles, which included subjecting them to oral sex.
The 31-year-old businessman and weightlifter, Mulenga, popularly known as Desai Mafia of George Compound in Lusaka, was removed from society and sent to prison.
Judge Mwaka Ngoma, said a man like him who had no shame to show his nakedness to a child needed to be taken out of society.
She said the 15 years sentence would run concurrently with the five years imprisonment with hard labour for abducting and one year for assaulting juveniles under the age of 16, as pronounced by the Lusaka Magistrate Court.
Brief facts are that Mulenga between November 19 and 21, 2021 allegedly abducted girls below the age of 16 and confined them in his bar in a dark room where he used to give them drugs, have sex with them and later took them to some lodges in the Emmasdale area and made them sleep with other men for money.
THE PEOPLE VS EMMANUEL MWAMBA
Patriotic Front (PF) Information and Publicity chairperson, Emmanuel Mwamba, was among the political figures dragged to the Lusaka Magistrate Court. Mwamba is facing one count of assaulting a police officer.
It is alleged that the accused on June 14, this year, assaulted Detective Inspector, Steven Simwenda, an officer of the Zambia Police service in the due execution of his duty. The matter was allocated to Magistrate Trevor Kasanda.
THE PEOPLE V SHADRICK KASANDA & OTHERS
Businessman, Shadrick Kasanda, who is currently in detention at Mwembeshi Maximum prison for espionage charges, appeared in the Lusaka Magistrate Court on different charges obtaining money by false pretences and money laundering.
Kasanda, 33, is jointly charged with Dominic Twinjika, Treasure Malandala both businessmen and Luwowoshi Mining Limited, are alleged to have fraudulently obtained money by pretending to supply gold amounting to about US$1 million to business partners. They entered a plea of not guilty in all the six counts.
Trial commences on October 16, 2023, before Magistrate Kawama Mwamfuli,
THE PEOPLE V LONGWE NGOSA
After a month in police detention, 29-year-old Longwe Ngosa, appeared before the Lusaka Magistrate court for allegedly assaulting her four-year-old step son.
Ngosa, a wife of a Zambia Army officer of Appolo Barracks in Lusaka, pleaded not guilty to one count of assaulting a child.
The accused on unknown dates but between April 1 and July 31, 2023, assaulted her step son.
Magistrate Mutinta Mwenya, granted Ngosa K3,000 cash bail plus three sureties. She was arrested on August 10, this year, after a recorded video of the boy showing his teacher the old and fresh wounds on his body, which he said was the result of the beatings from the accused.
The matter was adjourned to October 11, 2023, for start of trial.
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